Tag Archives: random encounters

Chance Encounters?

17 Nov

Random meeting #1 – The Starbucks inside of the Jensens Grocery Store in Lake Arrowhead, CA last weekend.

Two small, dark haired kids maybe 8 and 9 sit at a round table eating their lunch. Their mom sits nearby. Clearly this family is just hanging out at Starbucks on an afternoon, hoping something interesting will happen.

My roommate Jill, myself, my friend Jonathan, and my friend Lucas all sit sipping our chai lattes and hot chocolates together. It’s been a very intense weekend up until this point. I’ve cried a lot, I laughed some, and frankly I was sick of experiencing so many heavy emotions. As soon as I saw Jonathan, I recruited him to come to coffee with us. After seeing Lucas, we grabbed him, too.

Sitting there in the faux Starbucks in the middle of the grocery store, all of the energy was zapped out of me. I couldn’t talk about consecrating my coffee much less my spirit at that point. So I did the only thing I knew how to do. I told a joke. IT was a lame joke about a kid taking a bath. I admit it now. But that joke paved the way for us to start laughing together and joking. Soon, the kids next to us joined in and we made an unlikely connection. Suddenly the kids were telling us riddles and we were having a joke war. Who could tell the most clever riddle? Who could answer the most randomly? (I think I won that contest). It seems rather silly now. But at the time it was proof to me that God cares about the little things. Making that little girl and boy smile just because they could and because we were all there in that moment seemed really important. My problems didn’t vanish but for a few minutes they were put on hold and I was able to feel that connection that strangers feel when they aren’t strangers for a few moments. It was fantastic.

Random meeting #2 – La Canada Post Office. Eccentric guy in running shorts with a box. He’s waiting in line to talk to the postal worker about whether this box would work for him.

I’m standing there, minding my own business, when this guy starts making a big deal about how the plain looking boxes are free and the pretty ones cost money. I ignore him at first but then he is behind me in line and I don’t want to be rude.

“Where were you born?” he asks. I hesitate. It makes me sad in retrospect that someone striking up a conversation at the post office seemed weird. That’s where conversations SHOULD happen. So I answered and told him, “Colorado.” He wanted to know what part, so I continued to engage him. And then he asked the question.

“If you could be anywhere you wanted in the whole world right now, where would it be?”

“Hmmm…a beach.” I said, rather non-chalantly.

“Which one?” he asked.

“Probably one in Mexico,” I said, thinking back to this beach in Cabo that I really enjoyed.

“Mexico? Have you ever been to Hawaii?” he asked.

“Nope, I’ve always wanted to go there.” I answered.

“You need to go to Kauai. That’s where the most beautiful beach in the world is,” he remarked.

“Really?” I said.

I knew Hawaii was supposed to be really nice, but nicer than Tahiti? I was thinking about beaches after my weekend retreat. On the retreat I had visions of a beach that were so beautiful that they took my breath away. They were only in my imagination, but the visions brought such peace to me that I knew I wanted to go to that place some day and experience it for real.

“I’ve been all over and I’m telling you, this is the best beach in the world. Better than Fiji or any place in Mexico. If there was a scale, Mexico would be negative 15 compared to this beach in Kauai.”

“Okay, I’ll go there.” I determined.
And so I decided. I’m going to this beach. Hawaii couldn’t be THAT expensive to save up for. I googled the beach today. I don’t want to tell anyone the exact beach he told me because I’d rather save that for myself. But I will get there someday. Hopefully soon!

As soon as I decided this, the eccentric guy disappered. He was done with the post office and went outside, walking away from me down the street. Sometimes I wonder if we humans just bump into each other for moments of revelation. This seemed like one of those to me. It’s so easy for me to walk around in my own bubble, in my own space, hoping for someone to notice. But Post Office guy made me think, “I need to be more bold. I need to strike up a conversation with someone random.” Aren’t we all hoping deep down someone will notice us? I was noticed. It felt good. And now something tells me I should go to that beach.

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